After orientation last week with the founders of Haymakers and many alumni from the event I started to realize that everyone had someone they were dedicating their fight to. Many of the stories were unbelievable, people who had cancer themselves at one point, people whose family and best friends had been battling the disease. It made me realize that I did not have anyone in particular that I could fight for. As I mentioned in my first post, the girl I met was the inspiration for me to get involved in this event but I did not have anyone in particular that I was going to dedicate the fight to.
The day after orientation, the company that I work at took us to Mexico for a kickoff event. Being the rookie on the sales team I started to put names to faces and finally started to feel a part of our group. I told a couple of people about the event and as I started to meet other individuals, Haymakers was an immediate conversation starter. Then Tim Patterson and I sat down. I have known Tim since I started last year in an entry level position and have always said hi when passing each other in the office. We talked hockey all the time and I consider him a good friend at the company. As we sat there, I started to tell him about the fight and training and explained how I could not think of anyone I wanted to dedicate the fight to.
It’s funny how certain aspects of life can make someone open up. Usually there is always a common denominator involved and it provides a comfort level between two people that you would not experience with your everyday conversation. After explaining everything to Tim he began to tell me about the work that he does for the Jimmy Fund and cancer research. Every year, Tim along with his family and best friends put together a golf tournament and a mini golf tournament and all the proceeds go to cancer research. I was amazed by this act of kindness. “You don’t know how it feels to write a check for them, it’s honestly the best feeling,” Tim explained.
Listening to Tim describe what he was doing and the commitment he had to raising money for the cause I started to wonder exactly what I was trying to figure out, “So who is this for?” Tim’s father passed away 15 years ago from Cancer and I immediately explained how sorry I was. Tim shook his head and said, “You know what? He told my mother that he never wanted to be forgotten, so this is my way of ensuring that won’t happen.”
First and foremost I cannot imagine the type of pain that Tim and his family have dealt with over the years since their father passed away. However, what I am amazed at is how Tim, his three sisters Lynne, Amy, and Jackie, and his mother Georgia, did not let this control their lives. They have turned that pain into a courageous commitment to finding a cure. Not to mention, Lynne, who was diagnosed at 16 with ovarian cancer, has since beat the disease and is now a nurse at Dana Farber. This is an amazing family. This is what being a family is all about.
On the final night of our stay in Mexico I asked Tim if he would mind if I fought in his father’s name. Again, just like the little girl from Children’s Hospital, Tim was smiling from ear to ear. He was ecstatic and let me know that between his family and friends, I would have a huge group in my corner. There was one thing left however that I had not asked him, “If you don’t mind Tim, what is your dad’s name?” Tim immediately pulled his shirt up a bit to expose a light blue wrist band. As he took it off I saw his fathers’ name, Mike Patterson. I put the band on my wrist and have worn it since and will continue to wear it to remind me who I am fighting for. Here’s to ensuring Mike will never be forgotten.